Setting Your Mind on the Spirit, Not the Flesh

Setting your mind on the spirit is an often talked about, but a seemingly very abstract concept to today’s Christian.

The western mind is programmed to analyze and dissect every piece of information and either accept it because it fits into what we deem likely and possible, or deny it because it is classified as unlikely and impossible. So, it is not what is possible that we accept, but rather what we believe is possible. Our minds must shift into believing in the God of the impossible. In fact that word (impossible) must cease to exist in our minds as it pertains to the extent of our Heavenly Father’s power.

All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23 – NASB)

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In order to see God move in your fasting you must expand your belief system to a new dimension, the realm of the supernatural where anything is possible. Have limitless expectations of God because He is completely limitless. Nothing is impossible to Him, and therefore nothing is impossible for us to experience through Jesus in our fasts. Whatever you are fasting for, God can do it!

There is another way that our minds are set on the flesh besides simply being too logical in our assessments. It is through entertaining the carnal desires that the flesh presents to us. Most of the body of Christ is aware that the desires of the flesh are an issue, but have not been taught effective methods of dealing with this problem.

Mistakenly, most of the body of Christ has been pointlessly aiming at dying to the flesh itself. Most of us have been taught that the desires of the flesh are inherently evil and cause us to inevitably fall into sin. As hard as this may be to hear, that perspective may not be entirely true.

If we continue to subscribe to this false theology we are left fighting something that we can’t get rid of (our bodies), that has already been crucified with Christ, and praying for the day when we will no longer have to deal with our flesh; the day we die. Consider that this theology actually encourages us to wish and hope for death, as opposed to learning and exercising proper self control so that we can live our days in victory.

As stated earlier, the flesh itself is simply our physical bodies and their inclination for survival. Our flesh was designed and given to us by God. And, like all other creations that God made, He created them, stepped back and “saw that it was good” (Genesis 1). Somehow we have been led to believe that what God said is good is actually evil. What a testament to the audacity and pride of man to deny God’s declaration of quality and instead declare our own. As opposed to making declarations about our flesh that may perhaps be outrageous to God, lets rather look at the desires of our flesh as survival mechanisms that must be viewed with a proper lens. Our aim is that we may interpret those desires correctly and manage these urges appropriately so that we may walk in holiness.

Think of your carnal desires (sex, hunger, acceptance, temperature control, etc.) as sensors on a state of the art space suit designed to function perfectly on earth. Your urges are the messages sent to your mind by various sensors that have been wired to interpret information from your surroundings. Your body reads the environment and simply relays the messages to your mind. It is in your mind where the interpretation of these messages comes into play and your concepts of those messages then determine what is the proper course of action based on the information given by the flesh. It is the interpretation of the information from our flesh that is our real concern, not necessarily the information or even the sensor itself. The flesh in an of itself is not responsible for our decisions, our minds are.

This may be a graphic example but it serves well to illustrate the point. Consider a man who is a gynecologic doctor. His entire profession revolves around the analysis and diagnosis of the female reproductive system. Daily he is required to examine portions of the female anatomy that would likely cause the average man to succumb to temptation. However, this doctor is required to view each situation through a purely academic perspective. Hopefully he doesn’t stumble, not because his body or flesh is made of something different than every other man, but because his thoughts are made of something different. He doesn’t stumble because his thoughts are set in a way that gives him a completely different perspective.

This example is given without any consideration for a man or woman that actually has the Spirit of God living within them. A born again believer in Jesus has access to the “mind of Christ” and therefore does not have to revert to the mindset that indulges the desires of their flesh. The Holy Spirit is given to us to lead and guide us into all truth, and empower us to walk in that truth. Our flesh is not the problem. The problem lay in how our minds interpret the desires that the flesh relays to it.

The first century apostle Paul understood this dilemma when he declared that we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). We are called to set our minds on the things above (Colossians 3:2), and that we have the same mind that was in Christ (Philippians 2:5). As believers we are not seeking to overcome the flesh itself, but rather to overcome a mind set on the flesh. To do this we need to spend time seeking the revelation of God through His spoken word to us, and through the scriptures.

While fasting, the desires of your flesh will initially be intensified as it signals its need to survive, but as you tame that most insistent desire, you will also have opportunity to tame all other carnal desires. Learn to recognize the desires of your flesh during your fasting and pray for wisdom on how to tame them and view certain circumstances the right way; with the mind set on the Spirit.

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